Star Wars content over the last couple of years has been fairly hit or miss. From fairly mediocre movies like Solo to fantastic television programs like The Mandalorian, making good Star Wars stories and content has been quite difficult. This being said, we’ve gotten some pretty good Star Wars books as of late and Shadow Fall (Star Wars): An Alphabet Squadron Novel is no different. This is a sequel to Alphabet Squadron (Star Wars) and continues the compelling and character-driven story of the pilots on both sides of the wars. It has a plethora of entertaining action and interesting twists along with its well-crafted characters, but it isn’t without faults too.
The story is mostly revolving around Quell again and her journey as a defector. The continuing inner turmoil she deals with is very interesting overall and allows for a lot of great character moments and conversations. It’s interesting to see her perspective, growth, and change throughout the story, even if some of her choices seemed more forced than natural. I think the story could’ve been a little bit more clear and had more real objectives other than just fighting Shadow Wing, but overall things were pretty good.
Like Alphabet Squadron (the previous book), the writing is pretty solid and keeps readers entertained and is well-paced. It’s not a terribly difficult read, and only has a few, small parts that could’ve been shortened or skipped. The biggest thing to note here is that both these books of the Alphabet Squadron series use the universe of Star Wars really well. Different planets, aliens, and lore is used fairly often throughout the book and Shadow Fall is probably one of the best uses of Star Wars canon in the last few years while still staying focused on the main story. It does feel a little weird to be reading a book and then a high profile name drops here or there, but it makes sense for the story even if it can be a little jarring when referencing things we know from the movies and other such things.
The main issue with the book was its direction. With jumping between characters, perspectives, and a somewhat meaningful main plot, I found the story to be a little aimless. All the character interactions and action scenes were great, but what purpose did they serve? I think a bit more clarification on what was happening, why it was happening, and when perspectives changed would have been very helpful. Also, the ending might have pleased in certain ways, but it will also feel like a silly change of course for the book and characters after all the time spent on certain endeavors. It would be like opening and blowing up a beach ball for twenty minutes to just pop it after throwing it around for a day, so much time was spent on it and then it is just thrown away. This ending isn’t totally out of the left-field, but it just felt odd.
As a side note, the book has some ties with the new Star Wars: Squadrons game. With some characters being in both and honestly, similar plots, It wouldn’t be surprising to see some familiar faces from the book appearing in the game.
I highly recommend reading the first book in the Alphabet Squadron series or else you’ll miss a lot and many of the major plot points will have far less impact if you don’t read it (or not make too much sense). Check out both books and let us know what you thought or if you’re excited to read them. If Episode 9 was disappointing to you (as it was for most) and you’re just waiting for Season 2 of The Mandalorian, check out this series, it is a great story and, for the most part, a good read.